Andy Moles named New Zealand coach
New Zealand have appointed Andy Moles as their new coach and he will take over almost immediately, with John Bracewell to step down after the Adelaide Test. Bracewell's contract does not expire until April but he agreed with New Zealand Cricket (NZC) that it would be best for Moles to take charge ahead of the home series against West Indies, which begins on December 11 with a Test in Dunedin.
Moles, the Northern Districts coach who has previously been in charge of the Kenya and Scotland sides, was chosen after New Zealand's preferred candidate Matthew Mott turned down the job to stay on with New South Wales. Other leading contenders had included the South Africans Mickey Arthur and Graham Ford, until they both announced they would not pursue the position.
Moles said the immediate future for New Zealand would be a period of development after several experienced players retired, in some cases to play in the ICL. "We've lost a lot of senior players over the last two years and it is a rebuilding phase," Moles told TVNZ. "We've got to get a plan, move forward, set our goals, become No. 4 or 5 in Test cricket in a year's time, and move on from there."
New Zealand are currently ranked No. 7 in the ICC's Test rankings but if they lose the second Test to Australia they will slip below West Indies to eighth, ahead of only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. That could be a daunting starting point for Moles but NZC's chief executive Justin Vaughan is confident he is the man for the job.
"Andy has an outstanding coaching background," Vaughan said. "He has made a real impact at Northern Districts over the past two seasons and also brings more than 15 years experience coaching at international level."
The English-born Moles, 47, a former first-class batsman with Warwickshire, was chosen by a selection panel including John Wright, who was an early favourite to replace Bracewell due to his experience as the coach of India. But Wright will play a part in New Zealand's future having been named a national selector, and Vaughan wants Wright to work closely with Moles.
Bracewell's early departure will bring to an end his five-year stint as the coach, during which time he guided the side to semi-finals in the World Cup and World Twenty20 in 2007, as well as the Champions Trophy in 2006. Vaughan paid tribute to Bracewell's record but said in the interests of the team's future it was best for Moles to take over as soon as possible.
"John and I have been in regular contact over transition arrangements," Vaughan said. "With the new coach available to start immediately, we have mutually agreed that John would step down after the Australian series, allowing Andy to take up the role during a home season rather than on the road.
"John has achieved tremendous success with the New Zealand side, including Test series wins against South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, and one-day series victories over England, Australia, the West Indies, India, South Africa and Pakistan, among others." Bracewell will take time off over the next few months before taking up his new role with Gloucestershire next year.